It's time for the annual conference of the American Library Association, this time in San Francisco, California! I'm lucky enough to be presenting alongside an amazing panel, thanks to YALSA. Here's the lowdown:
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The WeNeedDiverseBooks movement challenges us to help young people connect with their passions, desires, and interests by embracing diversity. A panel of scholars, authors, and practitioners including Professors Sylvia Vardell and Antero Garcia, librarian Marianne Follis, and authors Janet Wong, Margarita Engle, and Lesléa Newman will discuss how diversity is key—in literature, media, and programming and in embracing and exploring questions of cultural and sexual identity.
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Our program weaves together the perspective of scholars, authors, and practitioners combining the expertise and context of each unique setting, highlighting the potential for collaboration. In addition, the focus on diversity is crucial, examining the spectrum of cultural and sexual identity in literature, media, and programming showing how a cross-cultural, cross-platform focus meets the needs of today’s teens in meaningful ways.
If you're at the conference, come join us!
A Select Bibliography of Books by Presenters
1. Dietzel-Glair, Julie and Follis, Marianne. 2015. Get Real with Storytime: 52 Weeks of Early Literacy Programming with Nonfiction and Poetry.
2. Engle, Margaret. 2006. The Poet Slave of Cuba. Holt.
3. Engle, Margarita. 2008. The Surrender Tree. Holt.
4. Engle, Margarita. 2009. Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba. Holt.
5. Engle, Margarita. 2010. Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian. Holt.
6. Engle, Margarita. 2010. The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba. Holt.
7. Engle, Margarita. 2011. Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. Holt.
8. Engle, Margarita. 2012. The Wild Book. Houghton Mifflin.
9. Engle, Margarita. 2013. Mountain Dog. Holt.
10. Engle, Margarita. 2013. The Lightning Dreamer.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
11. Engle, Margarita. 2014. Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal. HMHarcourt.
12. Engle, Margarita. 2015. Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
13. Engle, Margarita. 2015. Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir. Atheneum.
14. Engle, Margarita. 2015. Orangutanka: A Story in Poems. Holt.
15. Engle, Margarita. 2015. The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist. Two Lions.
16. Garcia, Antero and Haddix, Marcelle. 2015. “Reading YA with ‘Dark Brown Skin': Race, Community, and Rue’s Uprising.” ALAN Review, (Winter, 2015).
17. Garcia, Antero and Middaugh, Ellen. 2014. “Lost, Sweaty, and Engaged in Dialogue: The Civic Opportunities of Geospatial Play” in #youthaction: Becoming Political in the Digital Age edited by Ben Kirshner and Ellen Middaugh. Information Age Publishing.
18. Garcia, Antero and Middaugh, Ellen. 2015. “Race to the White House.” Civic Media Project. Accessed at http://civicmediaproject.org/works/civic-media-project/racetothewhitehouse
19. Garcia, Antero. 2013. Critical Foundations in Young Adult Literature: Challenging Genres (Critical Literacy Teaching: Challenging Authors and Genre). Sense Publishers.
20. Garcia, Antero. 2014. Teaching in The Connected Classroom (DML Research Hub Report Series on Connected Learning Book 3). Digital Media and Learning Research Hub.
21. Mirra, Nicole; Garcia, Antero and Morrell, Ernest. 2015. Doing Youth Participatory Action Research: Transforming Inquiry with Researchers, Educators, and Students (Language, Culture, and Teaching Series). Routledge.
22. Newman, Lesléa and Dutton, Mike. 2011. Donovan’s Big Day. Tricycle Press.
23. Newman, Lesléa and Ferguson, Peter. 2007. The Boy Who Cried Fabulous. Tricycle Press.
24. Newman, Lesléa. 1996. Fat Chance.
PaperStar/Putnam & Grosset.
25. Newman, Lesléa. 1997. Still Life with Buddy. Pride & Imprints.
26. Newman, Lesléa. 2003. Write from the Heart. Ten Speed Press.
27. Newman, Lesléa. 2004. Hachiko Waits. Holt.
28. Newman, Lesléa. 2005. Jailbait.
29. Newman, Lesléa. 2014. Here is the World: A Year of Jewish Holidays. Abrams.
30. Newman, Lesléa. 2015. Heather Has Two Mommies. Candlewick.
31. Newman, Lesléa. 2015. I Carry My Mother. Headmistress Press.
32. Newman, Lesléa. 2012. October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard. Candlewick.
33. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2011. Gift Tag. PoetryTagTime.com.
34. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2011. P*TAG. PoetryTagTime.com.
35. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2011. PoetryTagTime. PoetryTagTime.com.
36. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2012. The Poetry Friday Anthology K-5. Pomelo Books.
37. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2013. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School. Pomelo Books.
38. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2014. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science. Pomelo Books.
39. Vardell, Sylvia and Wong, Janet. Eds. 2015. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations: Holiday Poems for the Whole Year in English and Spanish. Pomelo Books.
40. Vardell, Sylvia. 2007. Poetry People: A Practical Guide to Children’s Poets. Libraries Unlimited.
41. Vardell, Sylvia. 2012. The Poetry Teacher’s Book of Lists. Pomelo Books.
42. Vardell, Sylvia. 2014. Poetry Aloud Here 2: Sharing Poetry with Children (Second Edition). American Library Association.
43. Wong, Janet S. 1994. Good Luck Gold and Other Poems. McElderry Books.
44. Wong, Janet S. 1996/2008. A Suitcase of Seaweed, and Other Poems
45. Wong, Janet S. 1999. Behind the Wheel: Poems about Driving. McElderry Books.
46. Wong, Janet S. 1999. The Rainbow Hand: Poems about Mothers and Children. McElderry Books.
47. Wong, Janet S. 2000. Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams. McElderry Books.
48. Wong, Janet S. 2003. Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions. McElderry Books.
49. Wong, Janet S. 2003. Minn and Jake: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
50. Wong, Janet S. 2007. Twist: Yoga Poems. McElderry Books.
51. Wong, Janet. 2008. Minn and Jake’s Almost Terrible Summer. Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
52. Wong, Janet. 2011. Once Upon A Tiger: New Beginnings for Endangered Animals. OnceUponaTiger.com.
53. Wong, Janet. 2012. Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year. PoetrySuitcase.
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Special thanks to Candlewick Press, Simon & Schuster, and Pomelo Books for their support! We have an amazing slideshow and our session will be audio-taped plus we have heaps of freebies to give away too. I hope to share some nuggets from our session later-- and attend the Poetry Blast and report on that next week too. Meanwhile, happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Head on over to Carol's Corner where she is hosting our gathering this week.
I'm pleased to post another installment in my ongoing "Poet to Poet" series in which one poet interviews another poet about her/his new book. This time it's Amy Ludwig VanDerwater and Lee Wardlaw who have very generously volunteered to participate. Both of these women write poetry in picture book form that are so endearing, fun and thoughtful for young readers.Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s work has appeared in multiple anthologies and she is a frequent and popular workshop presenter and literacy consultant. She is a former fifth grade teacher and her current blogs, Poem Farm and Sharing our Notebooks are both highly regarded resources on the writing and teaching of poetry. Her first full-length book for children was the lovely walk-through-the-woods, Forest Has a Song and the forthcoming poetry collection, Reading Time.
Lee Wardlaw grew up in Santa Barbara, CA, and wrote her first book in second grade. She continued to write poems, stories and plays all through elementary school. She worked as a teacher for five years before deciding to write full-time and the award-winning author of close to 30 books for young readers, including Won Ton: A Cat Tale in Haiku; Red, White and Boom; 101 Ways to Bug Your Friends and Enemies, among others. She is also a frequent presenter of workshops and programs for children, teachers, and parents.
Here, Amy asks Lee all about her passion for cats and her creation of her new book, Won Ton and Chopstick, and Lee reciprocates with many images of her process along with her fascinating responses.
Amy: As a person who lives with many animals, both canine and feline, I admire the way you reveal Won Ton's purrsonality through poems. We playfully speak in the voices of our own cats and dogs here at home, but you take things to a new level writing two books in Won Ton's voice. Are Won Ton and Chopstick modeled after real animals you have known? And if not, how did you do this? Do you study your friends' pets and practice speaking as they might speak? Do you do this out loud?
Lee: I speak fluent Cat. It’s been my second language since I was a toddler, when my mother used to read me Pussy Willow by Margaret Wise Brown. Since then, I’ve shared my life with 30 cats of every flavor imaginable, so it was easy to slink into Won Ton’s head and tell tales from his point of view.
Wait – I take that back. Writing in a cat-ly voice didn’t come easily at first, not until I switched from prose to haiku. That’s when Won Ton’s purrsonality really pounced off the page. I think that’s because cats and haiku have so much in common (as you can see from my analysis, below). I firmly believe that if cats were to speak human, they would do so in haiku.
Yes, Won Ton is modeled after several of my previous cats (with a bit of my own persnickety-ness thrown in). Won Ton – A Cat Tale Told in Haiku is actually based on the sweet, affectionate relationship that my son and his cat, Papaya, developed over the last decade.
|Papaya and my son, Patterson, at age 8 and at age 18.|
True Confession #1: I’ve never owned a dog. So Chopstick is not modeled after any pup I’ve know personally. For him, I actually had to do research!
I interviewed my author-friend Bruce Hale, who has a dog, Riley. Bruce filled me in on many canine characteristics, such as: they love to dig, they love to chew, and they love to dig and chew. I also interview Amy Shojai a fellow member of the Cat Writers’ Association. Amy is a certified animal behavior consultant (CABC). She supplied me with amazingly helpful info about the common emotional, physical and social dynamics between a resident cat and a new puppy that invades his turf.
Illustration from Won Ton and Chopstick, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin
My long-time writer-buddy Dian Curtis Regan passed along a great anecdote about her elderly kitty, Gracie, and her new puppy, Nellie, which inspired this poem:
Proper cats prefer
playthings with feathers or fur.
So whose toys are these?
Amy: How did you come to choose the Japanese senryu form for Won Ton's voice?
Lee: True Confession #2: I didn’t know I was writing senryu! I’d never even heard of senryu – until I stumbled upon the term while working on Won Ton. It was an a-ha! moment, because I knew that my poems weren’t true haiku – and that worried me. I tend to be a rule-follower, so I had this irrational fear that the Haiku Police were going to break down my office door and confiscate my manuscript.
For your readers who don’t know, haiku (HI-koo) and senryu (SEN-ree-yoo) are similar. Both traditionally feature three unrhymed lines containing a grand total of 17 syllables (5-7-5, respectively) – and are written in the present tense. Each also captures the essence of a moment. In haiku, the moment is of nature; in senryu, the foibles of human nature (or, in my case, feline nature) are the focus, expressed by a narrator in a humorous, playful or ironic way. That’s Won Ton!
Amy: Won Ton and Chopstick, like Won Ton, is collection of poems with a clear story-structure. What is your process in drafting a poetry collection that follows a narrative arc?
Lee: My process is the same as drafting a novel or a picture book – at least in the beginning.
First, I brainstorm ideas for the characters, which includes various aspects of their personalities: their needs, fears, wants, likes, loves, hates and – of course – their names.
|‘Name-storming’ for the puppy in Won Ton and Chopstick|
I even made extensive notes on the types of sounds cats make, which is more than just meowing, growling or purring. (There’s also trilling, chattering, and chirruping, to name just a few.) I have notebooks scattered all over the house, in my purse, in my car. If I don’t have a notebook handy (rare, but it happens), I brainstorm on the back of grocery store receipts, bank deposit forms, napkins and restaurant placemats.
Random notes I made in the middle of dinner out with my family.
(Yeah, they’re used to me ignoring them when the muse strikes.)
It’s crucial for me to understand not only who or what my characters are, but also why. In other words, I have to understand my characters’ motivations: the values, beliefs, emotions, fears, etc., that drive them to action. Without these motivations, I can’t create conflict or plot. And without conflict and plot, well, there’s no story.
Once I’ve created my characters, then I outline the plot. It’s a rough outline, because when I’m doing the actual writing, I like to allow myself to play, experiment, and explore; to scamper off, or sniff out intriguing tangents. But I always, ALWAYS know exactly how my story ends – even if the journey there changes somewhat along the way.
Then, finally, FINALLY, I start writing the poems. I think I ended up with 80 poems for Won Ton and Chopstick, which was 40 too many. So I printed each one out separately, and spread them across the floor of my family room, arranging and rearranging them into plot sections, such as “The Routine”, The Sneaking Suspicion”, “The Surprise”, “The Altercation”, “The Vindication”, etc. (This took a while, because whenever Papaya spies any piece of paper on the floor, he must immediately come lie down upon it.)
Next, things got rough. That’s because I was now forced to “kill my darlings” (to quote William Faulkner). Meaning, I had to banish a lot of poems I adored because they either slowed the story pace, or didn’t increase the conflict, or failed to portray a necessary emotion, or sounded “author-y”. And, of course, each haiku had to be honed many, many times, because every single one is almost like a little story all on its own. (The final version of Won Ton and Chopstick has 37 poems; Won Ton has 33.)
Amy: Would you please talk a little bit about the last poem in the book?
Lee: In the first book, our hero is bemused by Boy’s name choice for him:
Won Ton? How can I
be soup? Some day, I’ll tell you
my real name. Maybe.
By the end of the story, the reader knows that Won Ton has grown to trust and love his human:
“Good night, Won Ton,” you
whisper. Boy, it’s time you knew:
My name is Haiku.
In the second book, Won Ton is clear about his dislike for the new puppy:
Don’t bother barking
your real name. I’ve already
guessed. It must be…Pest!
But that dislike eventually erodes, transforming into trust and affection. I mirror that growth and depth of feeling in the last poem, when Won Ton says to Chopstick:
Your secret revealed.
What kind of name is Bashō?
I shall call you…Friend.
Although each book can stand alone, this last poem contains a surprise that connects it to the original story. In this way, I honor the fans of Won Ton – and also pay homage to Matsuo Munefusa (1644-1694), the Japanese haiku master whose pseudonym was Bashō.
Amy: Do you imagine more collections about either or both of these two friends?
Lee: I’m pleased with this Dynamic Duo, but I wouldn’t say no to a trilogy! I actually have an idea for a third book, and I’ve received a lot of fan mail from kids begging for one more adventure, so maybe…
Sylvia: Wasn't this wonderful? I love Amy's questions about cat, form, and process and Lee's answers are so personal and honest-- complete with fantastic images that help us visualize her thinking. What a treat to share with young aspiring writers, too.
Meanwhile, head on over to Jama’s Alphabet Soup for our blueberry-themed Poetry Friday party! See you there!
Image credits: LeeWardlaw, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Smithsonianapa.org
I'm so excited to announce that the next Young People's Poet Laureate has been selected. It's Jacqueline Woodson!
Jacqueline is the multi-award winning author of approximately 30 books for children and teens-- including the recent National Book Award winner, Brown Girl Dreaming, her memoir in verse-- which you know was one of my favorite books of the whole year! She also published Locomotion (2003) and Peace, Locomotion (2010) featuring a poetry writing character, Lonnie (nicknamed "Locomotion") with poems woven throughout the narrative. And of course her novels and picture books are built on beautiful, poetic language and memorable characters and true-to-life moments.
Here's one of my favorite moments from Brown Girl Dreaming:
stevie and me (pp. 227-228) Every Monday, my mother takes us to the library around the corner. We are allowed to take out seven books each. On those days, that all I want are picture books. Those days, no one tells me to read faster No one is there to say, Not that book, when I stop in front of the small paperback with a brown boy on the cover. “You know you’re gonna have a little friend come stay with you.”
And I said, “Who is it?”
If someone had been fussing with me to read like my sister, I might have missed the picture book filled with brown people, more brown people than I’d ever seen The little boy’s name was Steven but his mother kept calling him Stevie my name is Robert by my momma don’t said, You’re too old for this that someone who looked like me could be in the pages of the book that someone who looked like me
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From: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Penguin, 2014)
Here's more about the award...
Formerly, the Children's Poet Laureate, now the Young People's Poet Laureate, this award was established by the Poetry Foundation in 2006 to raise awareness of the fact that children have a natural receptivity to poetry and are its most appreciative audience, especially when poems are written specifically for them. The Young People's Poet Laureate receives a $25,000 cash prize and a medallion that includes the inscription “Permit a child to join,” taken from an Emily Dickinson poem. The Young People's Poet Laureate serves as a consultant to the Foundation for a two-year period and gives at least two major public readings for children and their families, teachers, and librarians during his/her term. He/She also serves as an advisor to the Poetry Foundation on children’s literature, and may engage in a variety of projects and events to help instill a love of poetry among the nation’s youngest readers.
2015 Jacqueline Woodson
2013 Kenn Nesbitt
2011 J. Patrick Lewis
2008 Mary Ann Hoberman
2006 Jack Prelutsky
The official announcement is here. And you'll find an interview with Jacqueline and Stacey Lynn Brown here. In this article, Jacqueline is brilliant, as always-- I loved this excerpt in particular:
"I think one thing I want to do as young people’s poet laureate is make sure all people know that poetry is a party everyone is invited to. I think many people believe and want others to believe that poetry is for the precious, entitled, educated few. And that’s just not true. Our children’s first words are poems—poems we and our listeners are delighted to hear and eager to understand. Rap is poetry. Spoken word is poetry. Poetry lives in our everyday. I’ve read some of the most poetic tweets, listened to poetic voice messages and snippets of dialogue between teenagers. In terms of what distinguishes poetry from other genres—it wastes no time, and I love that. Poetry doesn’t meander—well, a lot of poetry doesn’t. It says, “Understand me now because what I need to say is urgent.” And this urgency, this sense of getting the moment on the page and then letting silence fill the white space, is one of the many things I love about poetry. I would love for everyone to listen to the poetry inside of them. I would love for everyone to believe that they have a poem to write, say, sing, rap, dance..."I applaud this choice and look forward to what Jacqueline does next! Meanwhile, it's not too late to check out the Poetry Friday posts over at Buffy's Blog!
I'm pleased to post another installment in my ongoing "Poet to Poet" series in which one poet interviews another poet about her/his new book. This time it's Holly Thompson and Margarita Engle who have very generously volunteered to participate. Both of these women write verse novels (and other works) that explore the intersection of the cultural and the personal.
Holly Thompson is a poet and author who originally hails from Massachusetts, but lived in Japan for 20 years and writes about this cross-cultural, inter-cultural experience in sensitive and thoughtful novels in verse like Orchards, The Language Inside, and the forthcoming Falling into the Dragon's Mouth.
Margarita Engle is the award-winning author of many novels and biographical works in verse such as The Poet Slave of Cuba, The Surrender Tree, Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, The Firefly Letters; A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba, Hurricane Dancers; The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck, The Wild Book, Mountain Dog, The Lightning Dreamer, and Silver People: Voices from the Panama Canal. Her new book is Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir-- perhaps her most personal book yet!
Here, Holly asks Margarita about writing, memoir, childhood and culture in a series of very compelling and thoughtful questions and responses. Enjoy!
Holly: Enchanted Air! This memoir covers your early years to your teens and encompasses some huge political intrusions on your young life as well as influences of artistic parents from different cultures. The book is large in scope yet focused on little moments. How did you balance the specific with the global as you set about writing this memoir? How did you keep from getting bogged down by background information about the major historical and political events and circumstances?
Margarita: Thank you so much for your interest in these details of the writing process, Holly. I didn’t consciously set out to aim for balance. This profoundly personal verse memoir was not planned in any structured way, but was simply scribbled from a time-ripened blend of raw emotions and natural instincts. I closed my eyes and remembered the aspects of my childhood that were important to me. Then I wrote about them. Instead of trying to work facts and figures into the poems, I moved most of the political and historical surrealism of U.S.-Cuba relations to a timeline at the end of the book. The actual events of the Cold War are so hard to believe that I wanted to write them myself, before they are romanticized by writers of the future.
Holly: The Cuba of your childhood is vividly portrayed. Here is an excerpt that I love:
In this centuries-old house,
each floor-to-ceiling window
is truly an opening—no glass,
just twisted wrought iron bars
that let the sea breeze flow in
like a friendly spirit.
At night fireflies blink inside rooms,
and big, pale green luna moths float
like graceful wisps of moonlight.
In the morning, all those night creatures
vanish, replaced by cousins and neighbors
who peer in through the barred windows
to greet me and chat.
Holly: Throughout the poems, whether located in Cuba, the U.S. or Europe, the natural world is a touchstone, the discovery of flora and fauna in the wild a source of constant comfort for your young self. Family is also a thread in many of the poems. Can you discuss these two elements which are so central and often intricately woven together?
Margarita: I’m the daughter of artists, but ever since I was very little, I’ve been part poet, and part scientist. Tropical nature and the extended family were my two big personal discoveries during those childhood summers in Cuba, the two aspects of life that constantly astonished me. It would be fair to say that I fell in love with both the nature and culture of Cuba “at first sight,” just as my parents fell in love with each other at first sight. Childhood summers in Cuba determined my future. I studied botany, and became an agronomist. I remembered family, and became a poet.
Holly: With a mother from Cuba, your childhood was deeply affected by the cold war and the extreme chill in U.S.-Cuba relations. The loss of your other home in Cuba is palpable in Enchanted Air. How might you speak to your young self about the recent, at last, warming/softening of relations between the two countries?
Margarita: The advanced review copy of Enchanted Air landed on my doorstep just as President Obama was making his December 17, 2014 announcement about a thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations. For me, it felt like a prayer answered. I cried with joy. In the last paragraph of the historical note at the end of the manuscript, I had written: “My hope is that by the time Enchanted Air goes to press, normal travel and trade might begin to be restored.” Amazingly, that is exactly what happened! I know God must have plenty of other written prayers to read, but in this case it felt like He might have glanced down at my scribbling, smiled, and said, “Oh, yeah, it’s about time those two stubborn countries stopped holding a grudge.” Of course, now I have to revise the historical note, something I’m doing with incredible gratitude. I just returned from a family visit to Cuba. Diplomatic relations, travel, and trade aren’t completely normal yet. Most aspects have not yet actually changed, but just knowing that the process has started inspires hope. For the first time, during all my many return visits to Cuba since 1991, I was able to relax and go birdwatching, instead of just worrying about how to understand history, and how to help relatives.
Holly: As a teen, you traveled one summer with your family in Europe and spent a month in Spain. There, you seemed to discover that home can be in more than just two places, the U.S. and Cuba, and you seemed to gain an appreciation for your two languages. Can you speak about the comfort that travel brought you? How did your early experiences traveling between Cuba and the U.S. impact that later discovery of solace in new places?
Margarita: We visited several European countries that summer, but I only felt “at home” in Spain, partly because of the familiar language, and partly because we stayed in one town long enough to get to know people. During subsequent years I started traveling earnestly, first hitchhiking all over the U.S. during my late teens, and then, beginning in my early twenties, traveling all over Latin America on buses, trains, donkeys, and dugout canoes. It took decades for me to realize that wherever I went, a part of me was always searching for Cuba. Returning to the island in 1991 began a long, slow process of becoming whole again. I am finally myself now, half American and half Cuban, just as I was during childhood. Traveling helped me heal.
Sylvia: As a fellow traveler, I love that idea: of healing through travel. Thank you, Holly and Margarita for sharing so generously and for all your works that consider the intersection of the cultural, the personal, and the political. I am a big fan of you BOTH! And I think Enchanted Air is an amazing book, a beautiful blend of personal memories and a slice of history, as well as a coming-of-age story. I'm lucky enough to be able to dig deeply into this book to create a reader's guide for Enchanted Air-- more info on that later.
Meanwhile, head on over to Radio, Rhythm, and Rhyme where Matt Forrest is hosting Poetry Friday and has some good news of his own to share.
Image credits: YAReview.net; MargaritaEngle.com; Commons.Wikimedia.org; authorsforphilippines.wordpress.com; NoWaterRiver.com; blogs.mccombs.utexas.edu